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Pieter Aertsen, Scenes from the Life of an Unidentified Bishop Saint

Key facts
Full title Scenes from the Life of an Unidentified Bishop Saint
Artist Pieter Aertsen
Artist dates 1507/8 - 1575
Date made about 1560
Medium and support Oil on wood
Dimensions 75 × 56 cm
Acquisition credit On loan from a private collection
Inventory number L578
Location Not on display
Image copyright On loan from a private collection, © Private collection 2000. Used by permission
Collection Main Collection
Scenes from the Life of an Unidentified Bishop Saint
Pieter Aertsen

Three scenes are included in the picture, in each of which the bishop is shown doing good works. In the foreground he gives money to a beggar, in the background on the left he heals a blind man. In the corresponding feast scene on the right, he prepares to wash a poor man, perhaps the same man who appears in the foreground.

It has been suggested that the bishop might be Saint Albinus, Bishop of Angers from 529, who was a patron saint of the blind. The picture was probably painted as a single devotional work, rather than as part of an altarpiece, and dates from about 1560, when Aertsen had moved from Antwerp to Amsterdam.

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